Get ready for National Braai Day
The countdown to National Braai Day has begun. On Monday, 24 September, get ready to take out the tongs and celebrate our national heritage with a braai. Find out which wood is best for braaing – and good for the planet too.
Choosing the correct firewood goes a long way to ensure that your fire is the best it can be while helping the environment at the same time. The wood you choose should have a high carbon content and high density to ensure hot and slow burning coals. Keep in mind that braai wood is best with a low ash content and limited trace elements – certain heavy metals such as aluminum, lead and arsenic are harmful to people and the environment.
Which wood is best for your braai?
The rule to remember is that it’s best to avoid any indigenous woods. Using alien vegetation like rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) and blackwattle (Acacia mearnsii) help to remove unwanted and water-thirsty exotics with the bonus that they make for excellent braai wood. A study by the University of Stellenbosch compared various types of firewood typically found in the Western Cape. The results showed that rooikrans had the best energy output and lowest environmental impact (low concentration of lead and aluminum).
Using rooikrans for your braai will benefit our indigenous plants too. This tree is an invasive exotic species that slurps up precious water and out-competes our local trees. Experts estimate that alien plants use up to 7% of our available water supply – a considerable percentage in a thirsty country like ours.
Working for Water is an organisation that removes invasive aliens to free up water resources and provide work for thousands of people. By making your fire with an alien plant like rooikrans or bluegum, you will help to protect the environment. Best of all, you should have perfect coals for your chops and wors.â€¨
Read up about some of the exciting events happening around National Braai Day.
Related links: Check out our 'Around the Campfire' gallery.
Watch the National Braai Day song.
Words by Pieter van der Lugt; music by Johnny de Ridder; performed by Die Heuwels Fantasties, JR, HHP and The Soweto Gospel Choir; video by Duvan Durand.